safety

safety

Ford Escape

In the past, Ford has had some serious issues with its cars and fire. Two that stick firmly in our minds are the Pinto, which Ford famously weighed out the cost of recall vs. the cost of paying wrongful death suits, and the spontaneous combustion of the second generation Taurus . So when we learned that the newly redesigned Escape had a potential fire issue, we expected swift and proactive action from Ford.

We certainly got that, but we never expected it to be to the extent that it has become. Reports have emerged that Ford is actually paying dealerships a $300 spiff to repair each and every recalled Escape , which is about 11,500 vehicles. Even our basic mathematical skills can sort out that we are talking about $3,450,000 worth of spiff payments, which does not include the cost to repair the issue.

We are curious to find out if the dealers are passing this spiff onto the service writers and technicians that are repairing the vehicles or hoarding this payment for themselves. We are willing to bet that it is the latter, as the technicians and service writers make commission off of the recall repairs and dealers rarely share spiffs any more.

In addition to this extra bonus, Ford is also recommending that dealerships wash and vacuum the SUV, and fill the gas tank. Talk about going over the top...

It is rather obvious that Ford wants this issue gone and it wants it gone as quickly and effectively as possible. Hats off to Ford for taking this sort of approach with this extremely dangerous recall.

Racing is all about speed. The faster you go, the better the chances of winning the race. It can be a matter of milliseconds separating you from a win or a loss, or a matter of milliseconds in your response time to avoid a tragedy. This quick driving and quick response times can easily be lost on the spectator because some of the most amazing parts of a race - you know, those moments that make history - can be missed in the blink of an eye.

That all changes for the next 16 minutes of your life. Another Racing In Slow Motion video - part four - has been released and will help you see those moments that may have been lost during a real race.

Sit back and enjoy 16 minutes of pure racing footage. Don’t forget to turn up the volume to enjoy that amazing racing sound!

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been in the spotlight lately, with Teknikens Värld claiming that the vehicle failed their Moose test (or Elk test) miserably. Chrysler called "bullshit" on that claim, but it’s not going to be so easy convincing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that their latest safety concerns are bogus.

The NHTSA is investigating the SUV because of two complaints they received from Grand Cherokee customers. Apparently, there have been some under-hood fires that have caused the destruction of both vehicles. The sources of the fires are unknown at this point, but one customers stated that a hose ruptured when the vehicle was traveling at low speeds: "Mechanic received directive from Chrysler on a fix. He made the fix as directed, but the new hose quickly burst on him during testing," the owner wrote to the agency. The other owner’s complaint was that he "glanced in the rearview mirror and noticed smoke outside the vehicle. He pulled over and exited the vehicle, when suddenly massive flames erupted from under the hood."

We’re not very sure how this investigation will affect the Grand Cherokee, but if these claims lead to a recall, there will be almost 107,000 Grand Cherokee units affected.

Source: NY Times

Since airbags have become commonplace in cars in the last two decades – yes, it’s been that long – we have seen all sorts of different airbags in different locations to protect against various crashes. Now Mercedes is adding a new airbag of sorts to its 2014 S-Class . This newfound device is called the beltbag.

Here’s how the beltbag works. When the car is involved in a crash, the rear seatbelts will inflate with air and help cushion the seat’s occupant against torso damage caused by the belt. If you’ve ever been in a hard enough crash to jar you forward, you know how badly a seatbelt can bruise your chest and abdomen. The airbelt is supposed to prevent that damage.

This isn’t the first airbelt to be released though, as Ford included it in its optional features on the 2011 Explorer. This is, however, the first time it is a standard feature. We are curious as to why Mercedes did not add this feature to its front seatbelts, as the jolt forward is no different in the rear than it is in the front.

We also wonder how many years this will remain an optional feature before the NHTSA decides that this needs to be standard in all cars, thereby driving up the cost of a new car even more... Keep in mind, even front airbags were once only an option, as were tire pressure monitors, traction control, and ABS. Now those features are all required, in one for or another, on all cars sold in the U.S.

We’ll get to see this new belt system in action in Geneva next spring, which is when Mercedes-Benz unveils its new S-Class .

Porsche Panamera Turbo S

When you pay a lot of money for a brand new car, you don’t expect to have any problems with it at all. In the real world, however, bad things can happen, even for high performance vehicles from Porsche . The Stuttgart based company has announced a pretty serious recall for their Panamera and Cayenne Turbo models (all 2012 Cayenne models and Panamera Turbo and Turbo S models from 2011 and 2012), to the tune of 270 US units.

The recall was issued because the turbine wheels from the turbocharging system may fracture under certain conditions. Such a fracture can cause a chain reaction in which the turbine shaft cracks, oil is sucked into the exhaust system causing smoke, and possibly a fire.

The problem was detected when a series of fires started in Syria in October and later on a racetrack. During some X-ray inspection, Porsche discovered a series of 37 worldwide failures of the turbine wheels, including three in the U.S.

Porsche is advising the clients with the affected vehicles to take them to the nearest dealership where they will have the turbine replaced, at what we are assuming is free of charge.

The guys over Teknikens Värld recently got a little more than they bargained for when they performed a Moose test (or Elk test) with the brand-spanking new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee . The Moose test determines how a vehicle acts when the driver evades a suddenly appearing obstacle, such as an animal or a child, and the Grand Cherokee didn’t exactly get to the top of the class.

The purpose of this test - done at very low speeds - was to determine how well the SUV’s active safety system would work. At only 39.5 mph, the Jeep Jeep Grand Cherokee went up on two wheels, in the middle of the maneuver. If it wasn’t for the professional driver behind the wheel, it would have easily rolled over. As many can imagine, not everyone that purchases vehicles have professional driving skills, so at the hands of probably most Jeep Grand Cherokee owners, the result could be deadly. According to Teknikens Värld’s Linus Pröjtz, this is an unacceptable result for a 2012 SUV, and we would have to 100% agree with this.

By comparison, SUVs like the Volkswagen Touareg and the Volvo XC90 did well at even greater speeds of 43.5 mph. To make matters worse, when Teknikens Värld performed the Moose Test on the previous generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it passed the test with no problems at all.

This information should certainly not fall on deaf ears, especially the ears of Chrysler heads.

UPDATE 07/09/2012: Teknikens Varld’s tough review of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee immediately caught the attention of Chrysler heads and the company is none too pleased with the results. Their displeasure doesn’t stem from the Grand Cherokee’s failure, though. According to Chrysler, several attempts were made by Chrysler Group engineers to recreate the two-wheeled escapade of Varld’s test, to no avail. Chrysler then joined Teknikens Varld’s team to see if they could recreate the terrible result and they also could not. Turns out, the Jeep used in Varld’s first Moose test was loaded beyond its weight specifications. The Grand Cherokee’s weight limitations are clearly stated on the vehicle and in the owner’s manual.

All is good in our world again.

Hit the jump to read the full statement from Chrysler.

UPDATE 07/10/2012: It looks like Teknikens Varld is not going to give up. After Chrysler attacked them and said their test was not accurate, the Swedish magazine posted a second part to their test in which they explained how the Grand Cherokee failed the evasive maneuver test. According to them, the car they tested was loaded according to the specifications for the maximum load in the Swedish registration certificate and was riding on standard equipment tires. Also, all systems, such as chassis settings, air suspension, and similar, were in normal mode. Even so, in each test they performed, the car either went up on two wheels or was close to overturning. We’re assuming Chrysler is going to have something to say about this as well. The drama continues!!

UPDATE 07/13/2012: The guys from Teknikens Varld are seriously not going to give up! Today they have posted a new part to their Grand Cherokee moose test in which they advise customers not to buy the new Jeep Grand Cherokee until Jeep/Chrysler solves the problems. We are pretty curious to find out what Jeep has to say about this.

In the past few years, zombies and vampires have been like a disease in the cinematographic industry and it looks like Hyundai has gotten the fever as they have unveiled a very strange looking Elantra Coupe . Called the "Zombie Survival Machine," this life-saving model was designed by The Walking Dead creator/writer Robert Kirkman and fabricated by Design Craft. It was built in honor of the 100th issue of the comic series “The Walking Dead.”

The Elantra is well-equipped to ward off any blood-thirsty zombie with armored window coverings, a roof hatch to allow passengers to fend off attacking walkers, and a trunk full of electric and pneumatic weaponry to blast off their heads. Any leftover carcasses can be done away with using the front-end custom zombie plow with spikes because, well, who doesn’t want spikes when attacking zombies? Speaking of spikes, the Elantra also has spiked all-terrain/rally type tires to allow passengers to get to safety and, when all of the technology is wiped out due to the crumbling of our world as we know it, the Elantra will be ready with a CB radio system.

"Our custom Elantra Coupe Zombie Survival Machine is the ultimate car for The Walking Dead fans and anyone who wants to survive a zombie invasion," said Steve Shannon, vice president of Marketing, Hyundai Motor America. "We are excited for fans to come and experience the Elantra Coupe and GT in a unique, post-apocalyptic way."

The devastating Waldo Canyon wildfire is no laughing matter, so much in fact that it forced the cancellation of the 2012 Pikes Peak Hill Climb , which was originally scheduled for July 8.

While we certainly hope and pray for the safety of all those involved, we were happy to find out that the race has been re-scheduled for August 12. Barring any conflicts from all the participants for the event, we can all expect a full cast of all the 211 competitors that will be ready to run the race up the clouds.

This year, we can expect to see the usual cast of racers at Pikes Peak led by no less than the legend himself, Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima . A number of other drivers will also be in attendance, including Walter Röhrl who will be driving the iconic Audi Sport quattro A1 up the hill.

For now, pencil in August 12 as the date, although that could still change if the wildfire hasn’t been contained at that time.

So cross your fingers, people. While we’d love to see Pikes Peak take place on its re-scheduled date, we wouldn’t want to see it if it means that it could still be dangerous for all parties involved.

We told you before exactly how awesome RallyCross really is. It’s full of carnage, contact, and even bicycle ramps. Well, on the flip-side of that coin is extreme danger, especially where the jumping part is concerned. At the X-Games RallyCross running this year, there was a jump with a 50-foot gap and clearing that is typically not a problem.

Well, RallyCross rookie, Toomas Heikkinen, found out just what can happen if you take the jump a little too slowly. As Toomas exits his jump, you can tell something just isn’t quite right. Your feeling would be accurate too, as he slams headfirst into the landing ramp, absolutely destroying his car and landing upside down.

Toomas managed to get out of his flipped Ford Fiesta , as it spewed fluids and fortunately got out prior to it catching fire. Also fortunate is the fact that Toomas escaped with his life, though he does have a broken ankle and some abdominal pain, according to X-Games representatives, to deal with. This means that he will likely not compete in the remainder of the X-Games, but you never know about these RallyCross guys.

Our best wishes go out to Heikkinen for a speedy recovery and a successful return from his injury. Since he is doing well, we feel some good video of the crash is in order. There are two different angles of the crash, with the first being the best, and you can just imagine how much that wreck hurt.

The best video is above and the alternate angle is after the jump.

There are only a handful of circumstances that can force the cancellation of an event as highly-anticipated as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb .

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is one of them.

As a result of the Waldo Canyon wildfire in Colorado Springs, the U.S. Forest Service has clamped down and banned the staging of the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June 8. According to the government agency, the extreme conditions of the fire, coupled with its unpredictable nature, has made it virtually impossible to host the event at this moment.

Major bummer.

Tom Osborne, chairman of the board for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, understands the decision of the Forest Services, noting that safety for participants and fans remain top priority.

"Our deepest concern is for the safety of the public and the competitors," he said.

"It was obvious that several agencies charged with public safety would not be able to commit the resources and manpower required to ensure those requirements because of the critical need for their resources at this time. Our city is in an unprecedented struggle right now and we are deeply sensitive to it."

For now, race organizers have announced that the event will still take place at a later date, possibly "later in the summer." The schedule has to be set up in such a way that all the participants - drivers, teams, etc. - are available, making for what could be a huge logistical problem for the organizers.

Likewise, fans that have already booked tickets for the event will have their tickets honored on the new race date, whenever that’s going to be.


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